Where to go OKA: Can someone find a place for OKA in the 2022 Elections?

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The latest twist for OKA and Azimio Coalition is that OKA invited Moses Kuria and his Chama Cha Kazi party to join them which Kuria has agreed to do on one condition. Kuria wants OKA to ditch any association with Azimio Coalition arguing that his party does not subscribe to the ideals and the agenda of the Azimio Coalition.

“Whereas we share many ideals between Chama Cha Kazi and OKA, we agreed to work together as long as OKA is not joining the Azimio Coalition which is incompatible with myself and the Chama Cha Kazi Party,” Kuria said in a statement.

In the meantime, OKA is postponing the signing of the Azimio Coalition agreement to be signed on Monday, February 28, 2022, by all parties including Jubilee and ODM. I think the rest of the parties involved will sign the agreement and leave room for OKA to join whenever they are ready.

OKA stated declared that: ” Our ideals continue to attract political formations which share the vision of a united nation anchored on the rule of law and equitable development. As a result, we continue to receive interests from the political formation that have expressed interests in joining us.”

“As a result, we have rescheduled the official unveiling of the OKA coalition as well as the signing of the coalition agreement that was scheduled for tomorrow to a later date this week so as to allow the accommodation of our new parties”.

There has been so much confusion about the OKA joining Azimio Coalition. In the first place, Kalonzo and his group came up with a new name for the group to be called Azimio-One Kenya Alliance never mind that Azimio is already a coalition of several parties.

Read: Game On For Azimio Presidency Run

It seems like the OKA leaders thought that they were forming a coalition with Jubilee and ODM and ignoring all the other parties who are already in Azimio Coalition. OKA also claimed that despite joining Azimio they will still field their own presidential candidate.

These may be negotiating positions but OKA knows who the Azimio presidential candidate is and it is not surprising that when President Uhuru Kenyatta went to Kasarani at the end of ODM NDC where Raila Odinga was declared the presidential candidate Kalonzo did not appear there and sent somebody else to represent him. That is fine.

It seems OKA wants to argue that although Azimio is already a coalition and not a single party, OKA is also a coalition.

It is now emerging that Kalonzo wants a coalition to coalition deal between Azimio Coalition and OKA as equals.

The Wiper boss is reportedly pushing for a raft of demands, including allowing One Kenya Alliance to negotiate as a team with Azimio.

If OKA was out there on the ground and in our communities galvanizing the kind of public support on the ground that Azimio Coalition is putting together right now it would be a fair deal to have a coalition to coalition deal of some sort.

Next two weeks starting Wednesday, March 2, 2022, Azimio Coalition is crisscrossing the country with rallies in every part of the nation. They have released a list of 11 rallies that will cover many parts of the country. That is how you build your base. Kenyans will see what they have for the elections on August 9, 2022.

This is what we have seen from Azimio Coalition so far like this rally in Thika a few weeks back.

These people are not at the negotiating tables but their voices are there because they are the voters all coalitions want to win to their side. Azimio as it is now has to respect them as much as they respect their negotiating partners.

OKA can take their own coalition to the ground and build a base that puts them at another level in the negotiations. In politics, there is stuff that you win on the battlefield and others that you get at the negotiating tables. In politics, nothing is given and everything is earned. It is very simple math when you look at it objectively.

The other reality is that according to the Parties Act 2021 once OKA registers as a coalition with the registrar which they intend to do tomorrow they cannot go back to Azimio and register as another coalition.

I doubt the Parties Act allows political groups to be in multiple coalitions at the same time. Effectively once OKA registers as a coalition and Azimio registers as a separate coalition the two groups cannot come together to register some form of a grand coalition.

They will have to maintain their status as different political coalitions and they can work together whichever way they want but not as one coalition.

For example, individuals from either coalition can move the other coalition if that is their desire. Or both coalitions can have a joint political platform but their candidates will only contest seats in 2022 General Elections on one specific coalition. Or maybe they can agree to work together after the elections.

A Kalonzo ally Mr. Mbui has claimed that Kalonzo does not want to appear to have relinquished his presidential ambitions in favour of Raila. That is fine.

“We are going as a coalition because we don’t want to be swallowed. We want to retain our identity. If we go and join blindly then we can lose even our support bases and that is what is important,” Mbui told the Star in a phone interview.

 “Once they (Azimio luminaries) sit and say it is Baba then our people will understand that we went in as equal partners but some arrangement has been done and Baba has come on top.

“We don’t want to join an umbrella that already has its owner. If we go and say we are just joining Azimio then it means we have relinquished our ambition which we cannot afford to tell our people,” he said.

Read: Ruto to the US and UK for the first time since becoming DP. How will it go?

Lugari MP Ayub Savula told the Star that Oka chiefs tabled their demands to President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila during a meeting last week and which accepted most of OKA’s demands. 

According to Savula, who doubles as DAP-K deputy party associated with Defense CS Eugine Wamalwa, OKA demanded, amongst other things, deputy president slot, share of cabinet position, and other government appointments.

The OKA brigade is also pressing for a name change to reflect their working arrangement with Azimio La Umoja spearheaded by Raila.

They want the super coalition christened Azimio-One Kenya Alliance.

While many Kenyans would see OKA joining Azimio Coalition as a very positive development given the quality of leadership within the OKA team, it would appear to some that if such new alliance is to bring endless confusion and bickering within Azimio Coalition then the question would be if it is really worth it.

Secondly, everybody knows the shortcomings and motives behind negotiating through the media.

Often it is not so much to reach an agreement but rather to sell a political agenda. What exactly is the OKA agenda in this case? At face value, it seems like a strategy to disorient and breed infighting in Azimio Coalition. Something Azimio completely avoided thus far much to the approval of their supporters.

If OKA wants to negotiate certain internal dynamics with Azimio Coalition they know where to get the Azimio leaders, Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga. Why not talk to them in private and agree or disagree in a dignified and self-respecting manner for all parties?

There is a lot of peace and focus in Azimio Coalition right now and Kenyans love and appreciate that, so please don’t ruin it just to add more people to Azimio Coalition.

If people want to join Azimio Coalition that is great but if they have better options then let them go ahead. It is that simple. If you start bickering and creating confusion before you even start working together, the bickering and confusion will go on forever and turn off a lot of your supporters.

Don’t go there, please.

Kenyans are fed up with those kinds of coalitions. They have seen those acrimonious coalitions of necessity before and they have seen what emerges from such groups even when they get into government. Nobody wants that again.

Kenyans want a coalition of willing partners not a coalition of political necessity for today.

Adongo Ogony is a Human Rights Activist and a Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada

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